Is a former employer in violation of any laws when they do not add a dependent to the insurance policy?

UPDATED: Jan 22, 2011

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Is a former employer in violation of any laws when they do not add a dependent to the insurance policy?

I was fired from my former employer in 07/10; I was pregnant. I have been on COBRA and have paid the employer all premiums for my daughter and I through 02/11. My daughter was born 11/30/10 and I notified the employer of her birth on 12/10/10. They have not added her to the insurance policy, have not given me an estimated time of when I can expect it to be done, and are not giving me answers about why it has taken so long. I do not want the premiums; I have paid to be reimbursed to me because I need her to be covered on the insurance. Do they have a legal obligation to add her to the policy? Are they in violation of any laws since it has been 6 weeks since I have notified them?

Asked on January 22, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, while COBRA gives you the right to *continue* the former policy as it existed at the time you left employment, it does not give you the right to add to the policy, change the policy, etc. Since your daughter was born 4 months after the policy, if you needed to make a change to the policy to add coverage from her (e.g. go from either a single or married, no children plan to a "family" or "dependent" plan), they would not normally have to make that change.

What is possibly in your favor, however, has been that you say you have been paying premiums for her already. If they have accepted the premiums, they may therefore be estopped, or prevented, from denying coverage at this time. Since you have paid premiums and therefore may have rights to coverage, you should consult about your situation with an employment attorney, who can advise you of your rights and recourse in this specific situation. Good luck.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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